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4 colleges to hold commencement ceremonies as virtual or drive-thru events

To minimize traffic congestion, the event is limited to one vehicle per graduate and vehicles without a graduate will not be permitted to enter.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Several colleges around San Diego County will host commencement ceremonies Friday, ranging from drive-thru events to virtual celebrations.

In San Marcos, Palomar College will hold a drive-through commencement ceremony taking eligible candidates on a lap of the San Marcos campus before receiving their diplomas.

The ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m., and will be live-streamed in addition to a special pre-recorded program featuring the customary schedule of speakers and awards. The recorded program will be available online starting at 2 p.m. on commencement day.

"We have been so inspired and humbled by the perseverance of our students, and we couldn't pass up this opportunity to celebrate with them in a safe and personal way," said Interim Superintendent/President Jack Kahn. "This is going to be an evening to remember."

To minimize traffic congestion, the event is limited to one vehicle per graduate and vehicles without a graduate will not be permitted to enter.

Student Activities Coordinator Kelly Donaghy said students will need to register ahead of the event, with predetermined entry times. Eligible candidates must wear academic regalia and may bring friends and loved ones, but only in one vehicle.

Meanwhile, Palomar College's radio station, KKSM will host a special pre-event program featuring pre-recorded messages, live call-ins, music and commencement information. Listeners can tune to AM 1320 or find KKSM on their favorite radio app to listen along.

More information can be found here.

In Oceanside, MiraCosta College will honor spring 2021 graduates with a virtual commencement ceremony at 5 p.m.

This year's ceremony will include 28 MiraCostans receiving bachelor's degrees in biomanufacturing. Students receiving a degree or certificate range in age from 73 to 17. Each graduate who RSVPs to the ceremony will be recognized with an official slide that can be personalized with their photo and special message.

"MiraCosta College is excited to celebrate the significant achievements of our students," said Sunita Cooke, superintendent/president of MiraCosta College. "They have all travelled different paths to reach their destination, but all of them have at least two things in common -- an unyielding appreciation for the value of an education and the perseverance to overcome any adversity presented to them."

Graduate Emanuel Prince will deliver the commencement address. Prince started at MiraCosta in the Summer Bridge program. He has been involved in the Black Student Union, Phi Theta Kappa, Umoja, and was the first-ever Associated Student Government vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. Emanuel is receiving his associates degree in administration of justice, is on the dean's and president's lists, and will transfer to Cal State University, Dominguez Hills.

For the first time in the commencement history of MiraCosta College, a student poet will be part of the ceremony. Nani Highland-Coslow was part of Phi Theta Kappa, vice president of Mana Club, has performed at three MiraCosta dance recitals and was published twice in the MiraCosta literary journal, Tidepools.

This year she was a winner of the poetry genre. On the dean's and president's lists, she is receiving an associate's degree in English and plans to earn a doctorate in English/literature to become a professor, published author-poet-novelist and lecturer, and Kumu Hula'a master teacher of hula.

More information can be found here.

In San Diego, San Diego College of Continuing Education will award 6,240 diplomas and certificates during a joint virtual commencement ceremony with San Diego Unified School District at 11 a.m.

A drive-thru/walk-up celebration will be held following the ceremony at SDCCE-Mesa College, 7350 Armstrong Place, from 2 to 5 p.m.

COVID-19 protocols will be followed including wearing masks and social distancing.

"The achievements of our students during this unprecedented year are a testament to their resilience and their motivation to succeed," said SDCCE President, Carlos Osvaldo Cortez. "The class of 2021 is truly historic, in addition to overcoming the novel coronavirus outbreak, they are also the first graduating class of the institution since our name change."

SDCCE -- formerly known as San Diego Continuing Education-- added the word college to its name in February to better reflect the organization's status and mission to transition adult students to credit colleges and careers.

Desktop technician graduate Tania Melendez will be the student speaker for SDCCE's Class of 2021. It's an achievement Melendez could not imagine when she returned to higher education as a single parent during a global pandemic.

"There were many points in my journey where I wanted to give up and not pursue my schooling," she said. "As an Asian American, the fear of breaking barriers in a male-dominated field terrified me." Despite the challenges, Melendez was awarded a William Rosen scholarship.

"May you continue to have the courage to pursue your goals, achieve your dreams and change your story," she said.

This fall, Melendez will continue her studies at SDCCE to become a certified cyber security analyst.

More information can be found here.

In Chula Vista, Southwestern College will honor student achievements through a virtual commencement ceremony and a livestreamed car parade of graduates at 4 p.m.

With the virtual ceremony, each graduate will be recognized in an official slide that is personalized with your name and optional photo. The digital program will list each graduate's name and graduation term.

During the livestreamed car parade, graduates can remotely share the celebration with family, friends and SWC community on social media as it happens.

There will be music and an inflatable arch under which graduates will be able to drive, as well as faculty and staff cheering them along the route.

More information can be found here.